How CBS Is Using After Midnight Clips to Drive Incremental Ad Dollars

There’s no question that the traditonal broadcast networks are facing unique challenges when it comes to ad sales these days, but one new company is trying to shake up the status quo, and they’re dabbling with CBS in late night.

B-to-B advertisers haven’t historically had much of a presence on broadcast TV, as they’re typically considered a niche sector of the ad business. But these advertisers have money to spend, and as Briain Steinberg at Variety reports today, they stand to benefit from an association with CBS talent.

One of CBS’ buzzier shows on social media right now is After Midnight, which is hosted by Taylor Tomlinson, who boasts 1.6 million followers on Instagram and 2.6 million followers on TikTok.

Advertisers such as Codingscape, a technology consultant, view Tomlinson and the viral clips her show generates as a way to reach new, social media savvy customers.

But while running ad spots during After Midnight would be too expensive for a company like Codingscape, running targeted digital ads with its message posted alongside clips from the show is not.

It’s all part of a new partnership between CBS and MutualMarkets, a tech upstart that pairs advertisers with TV shows whose viewers may actually use their products.

The company allows advertisers to comb through a database of content to identify which shows will help them reach their desired target audience and create templates for the actual ads. It’s a win for the advertiser, which reaches a new audience, and a win for the network, which sees a boost in both incremental revenue and visibilty for its shows.

For example, the B-to-B company NWN Carousel sells products designed for first responder call centers. After linking up with MutualMarkets, NWN Carousel was advised to buy a series of digital ads tied to the CBS series Fire Country, a show about first responders. Consumers who see those ads would be treated to a short video clip from the show as well as a link guiding them to NWN Carousel’s products.

Likewise, MutualMarkets paired the cybersecurity company Dashlane with NCIS, and when consumers see that ad, they don’t know if they’re watching an ad for the TV show or for the product, which is the whole point. Down the line, you may even see Dashlane and its products mentioned in an actual episode of the show.

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Those kinds of deals would normally take months to consummate, but now advertisers no longer need to have contact with CBS to license their IP — they can just use a platform like MutualMarkets.

CBS isn’t alone. Hulu is working with small and medium-sized marketers on similar efforts. And with Amazon, Netflix and Max all getting into the advertising business as well, the entire industry is likely to be pursuing new and innovative partnerships like these to stay competitive.

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